Thursday, September 17, 2015

a thrill of hope, the weary world rejoices!

I read this once and I saved it as a draft and never published it. But, although it's not Christmas, as the season begins to turn, I feel my heart longing for something, and althought I'm not always exactly sure of what it is, but I get glimpses of it and little hints. The more I listen, the more I sit in quiet posture at the feet of Jesus, I understand Him more. I know Him more. And so, I love Him more.

"And as I thought about this tension, about the wide gap between what is and what we feel ought to be, I thought of how I learned that Advent is not just remembering how the world waited for the coming of the Messiah, but how we still wait for His coming. It is a time to embrace the ache of our lovesick hearts, to rejoice in our hunger pains, to survey the broken mess of our world and know that, because God fully entered into it, He will also fully redeem it.

As we sit in our suffering and know that the God of the universe decides to sit with us in it, we have a truth that is weighty enough to answer our heavy hearts, our loneliness and disillusionment that are intensified during the holidays. Dietrich Bonhoeffer said that while God wants us happy as little children, it is the grown-up knowledge of God’s desire to always be with us, the fact that “we are no longer homeless; a bit of the eternal home itself has moved unto us,” that brings true joy. “Therefore we adults can rejoice deeply within our hearts under the Christmas tree,” he said, “perhaps much more than the children are able. We know that God’s goodness will once again draw near.”

Indeed, it is now that I am an adult with a broken and aching heart, but also with a storehouse of memories of His goodness, that I feel a shiver of joy as I sing, “A thrill of hope, the weary world rejoices.”

I don't have very far to drive to work anymore, but I do have a bit of time in the mornings devoted to driving and it's a good time for me to think. I was thinking this morning about a few things, but I started on a trail about comparison....for me, comparison is such a thief of joy. It's such a distracting activity that preoccupies me that leaves me feeling more empty than I thought. and then I remembered from C.S. Lewis's "The Horse and His Boy" about when Aslan is talking to Shasta I think and he reminds him, "Child, I am telling you your story, not hers. I tell no one any story but their own." When I remember this, that I am exactly where I am supposed to be, because he put me there, for a reason, and not only that the reason is just because He loves me and that He is's easier to be content. it's easier to set aside comparison and frustration and restlessness.

We were talking the other day about books and movies that have deeply resonated with our Christian identities. There's something so childlike and moving to me about Aslan - I also read somewhere that C.S. Lewis is explicit in his parallels to the gospel, in contrast to Tolkien who is implicit. I love that the Chronicles of Narnia start in the regular, normal world, full of brokenness, sin, darkness, and hopelessness that sometimes befalls humans and takes me to a world where Jesus is known and revered, where stories about him are passed along with knowing smiles and quiet understanding. where mercy and goodness reign... and then plants me back in my regular world with a completely different perspective of it. I do love Lord of the Rings and the Hobbit, but I think I love Narnia more for this reason.

“It isn't Narnia, you know," sobbed Lucy. "It's you. We shan't meet you there. And how can we live, never meeting you?"
"But you shall meet me, dear one," said Aslan.
"Are -are you there too, Sir?" said Edmund.
"I am," said Aslan. "But there I have another name. You must learn to know me by that name. This was the very reason why you were brought to Narnia, that by knowing me here for a little, you may know me better there.” 

Some other books on my list were The Great Divorce (my favorite part is the processional with the shining lady, surrounded by children she had loved and animals she had shown kindness to, following her like a cape behind her) These Strange Ashes, and Redeeming Love. I'm working on Hinds Feet on High Places and Go Set a Watchman right now. those may very well end up on my list as well. I'm also reading Scary Close (so so good. totally a different post.) I have a habit of reading multiple books at once, which is fine if I have a lot of time. but that's not often. It's frustrating to me that while I love school and I loved college, the amount of incredibly dense reading I had to do then means I now do not read as much as I used to. I've heard this theory from several adults. For me, it takes discipline to read for pleasure. but then I also think about how it takes discipline in general for me to focus (or not) on certain things, or to teach myself to fill my free time with things that challenge me and push me to Jesus, instead of "mindless rest" (netflix, social media, etc.) I'd probably be a lot more satisfied if I didn't turn to those things when I have free time, because they are hiding more than they are resting, but that's part of the struggle Paul talks about - that I do what I don't want to do and I don't do what I do want to do. In a way, reading, even if it's not necessarily spiritual, helps me refocus my desires and intentions.

this is a really random mix of thoughts today....catching up on all my drafts. (;

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